Pat - keep us up to date with your Black build

  1. Nick Gellie
    Nick Gellie
    Hi Pat

    Here is an opportunity to keep us posted about your build with Mike Black. It would be good to have some specs, some photos of progress, and any thoughts from Mike Black himself as the builder.
  2. pheffernan
    Well, Nic, I was jealous of your Black oval, and Gary wouldn't sell me his, so I approached Mike about building one for me! Since this is my first custom order, I really wanted something original that I wouldn't find used by patiently watching the classifieds. Thus, Mike and I have discussed a blackface A2Z, which have been rumored to exist but have yet to be verified with actual photographic evidence of a label. Mine should be #33 or#34 to leave Mike's bench. So far, he has roughed out the top and the back, and his most recent correspondence describes gluing in the neck and tail blocks. Next up is adding in the linings, followed by carving the insides of the top and back and doing the graduations.
  3. GKWilson
    Glad to see your keeping Mike busy Patrick.
    We want details. Wood, frets, versi, Mickey Mouse inlay, everything.
  4. pheffernan
    Well, Gary, I kind of want it to look like an instrument when it left the factory back in 1924, sound like one that has aged 90 years, and play like it was built today. Visually, I'm thinking of something like Statman's instrument before all of the playwear or this one from a FON otherwise comprised of A2Z's:

    In terms of wood selections, Mike was talking Engelmann Spruce over Red or Big Leaf Maple.

    I asked for black/white A2Z binding on top and "The Black" on the headstock.

    As to playability, I requested a radiused board and bigger frets -- possibly EVO -- but have vacillated on the nut width. I'm leaning toward 1-1/8".

    Finally, there will be a Virzi tone producer because I'm curious and frankly this mandolin is my only opportunity to satisfy that curiosity at less than half the cost of a vintage instrument outfitted with one. It may be a rationalization. I'm certainly not above it.
  5. GKWilson
    That's going to be a beaut Patrick.
    Keep us in the loop.
    It's your first build so remember to breath.
    It always takes longer to finish than we think it should.
    We get a picture of it just strung in the white and think
    it will only be a couple more days. When in reality there
    is a lot of work left to do.
    Can't wait to see and hear #33/#34.
  6. Mike Black
    Mike Black
    It will actually be #34 since #33 is an octave mandolin that will be finished up next week.
  7. Nick Gellie
    Nick Gellie
    Thanks Mike for letting us know where you are up to with your numbers of mandolin builds.

    We look forward to receiving your informative posts here on this social group from time to time.
  8. pheffernan
    I added some updated pictures of the #34 build. From what I understand, the final graduations still need to be performed on the back, but the sides are ready to receive it and the top when the time comes!
  9. pheffernan
    I've posted a couple of new pictures of the top to #34, carved and braced with a Virzi installed. The sides are getting glued to the top as we speak!
  10. Teak
    I hope Mike Black doesn't mind that I added a photo that he recently posted on his facebook page (search: Mike Black Mandolins facebook). In that photo, pheffernan's A2Z is probably one of the two on the left with Virzi. Hopefully mine is the other one with Virzi. Apparently one of the two on the right is a spec model which, if history holds, will get sold within a day or two of listing.

    I was able to visit Mike in his shop back in April and was very impressed with him and his work. Like a lot of famous entrepreneurs, Mike got his start in his garage. He's still IN the garage (ha ha) but his mandolins are very very nice.
  11. pheffernan
    Thanks for sharing the picture, Teak! I'm going to guess mine is the second from the left based on the hue. Tell us about your build!
  12. Teak

    I tried twice to reply to your PM. You either got two messages from me, or none.

    Oh well. I ordered an A2Z in mid-February (with Virzi) and it is probably the one farthest on the left.

  13. Teak
    Mike sent me two photos of my A2Z in production. I uploaded one which has the sound board attached to the sides but turned over so the Virzi was visible. These are good photos and clearly show people what a Virzi is and how it is attached.
  14. pheffernan
    Thanks to Teak, for posting an updated picture of his build, and Mike, for including a current photo of mine!
  15. GKWilson
    Verzi's, Verzi's everywhere.
    You [Teak n pheff] must be getting pretty excited.
    Seeing all that pretty wood starting to look like a mandolin.
    I can smell that freshly carved maple from here.
  16. Teak

    I am not getting excited yet since there is still a ways to go. But I am looking forward to owning an oval mandolin with Virzi. That will give me a trio of different sounds: f-hole mandolin (Givens), mandola, and oval-hole mandolin with Virzi. The Triple Crown of the Mando World?
  17. Teak
    I added two more photos today. Mike in his garage workshop is holding a short-scale mandolin that he made for someone out east. The mandolin has a side sound hole. We were able to visit his Lawrence, KS, workshop on our way down to Oklahoma in April.
  18. GKWilson
    Saved pictures to the thread.
    I thought that was an awfully big worm hole.
  19. GKWilson
    I can only do one pic at a time.
    That mandolin sure has a beautiful burst.
    Someones going to be very happy.
    Hope he/she joins our little club and tells us all about it.
    Hey Mike. Is that a Lloyd Loar stereo?
  20. GKWilson
    Holy @#%p. What's with that picture?
  21. pheffernan
    I just posted some updates photos of #34 that Mike sent me, showing a dovetail that has been fitted and a back that has been attached. The next steps include getting it ready for binding and shaping the neck!
  22. Teak
    Thanks for uploading the photos, Pat. It's nice to see the progression from wood to wonder.
  23. Teak
    Mike sent me two photos of my A2Z build. Gorgeous wood, both front and back.
  24. pheffernan
    I posted the matching photos of my littermate!
  25. GKWilson
    Just sitting here playing my A5 and thinking you guys are going to
    have so much fun. "Someday."
    I was going to lol that but I've never lol'd anything, ever. Decided not to start today.
  26. pheffernan
    I just added a couple of updated photos, mine featuring "The Black" on the headstock and a mahogany neck. As Mike said, it's starting to look like a mandolin!
  27. Teak
    Hey, nice photos Pat, thanks for adding them. It is fun to see our "stable mates" progressing together.
  28. Teak
    Pat, No news is just no news I suppose?
  29. pheffernan
    Hey Teak, all's quiet on the western front.
  30. Teak

    I just posted the latest photo of the twins.
  31. pheffernan
    Thanks Teak! While I see a family resemblance, they're clearly fraternal twins.
  32. pheffernan
    Mike has posted some nice new photos of my blackface A2Z, now stained and waiting for varnish!
  33. Mike Black
    Mike Black
    Actually the last coats of Varnish have been applied on both of your mandolins. Should be able to French Polish them first of next week.
  34. pheffernan
    Hey Mike, do you have any photographic evidence to corroborate your tale?
  35. pheffernan
    I've just posted the most recent pictures of my blackface A2Z fresh from a French polish!
  36. Teak
  37. Teak
    Mike sent me photos of my A2Z after French polish was applied, but for some reason the upload fails each time I try. Oh well, the finished product will look even better.
  38. pheffernan
    I just posted an updated picture of my blackface A2Z posing with a traditional tortoise pickguard!
  39. pheffernan
    I just added an even more recent photo including hardware!
  40. pheffernan
    The first (and likely last) video of #34!

  41. Teak
    Nice!! I love the sound of an oval hole with virzi.
  42. pheffernan
    I just uploaded eight new glamor shots of #34 which, with a strap button and a pickguard, will hopefully be here on Tuesday!
  43. Teak
    Well, Pat, that is almost as nice looking as mine.
  44. pheffernan
    Pics or it didn't happen.
  45. Teak
    I have pictures but have had trouble uploading them to the cafe. Don't know why.
  46. pheffernan
    Try a different browser. I'm struggling to post images with Chrome on my iPad but have no such issues with Safari.
  47. Mike Black
    Mike Black
    I'll add them.
  48. pheffernan
    I just posted two final pics of my blackface A2Z complete with vintage styled pickguard befor it shipped. It should arrive today!
  49. Teak
    My A2Z arrived this morning and I tuned it up after allowing it to warm up for a while in the box and case. The sustain is amazing given the fact that I have been playing a long-scale, f-hole mandolin sans Virzi for 36 years. I like the contrast between the two mandolins and will pick and choose which songs to play with each. It's nice to have that option.

    Kudos to Mike Black for a thoroughly professional operation from start to finish. Hopefully I can get a video or two uploaded with me playing some swing music that should show off the Black mandolin's prowess.
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